Certification fee holiday announced 

By Camy Kobylinski 

In July, Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) announced a certification fee holiday through June 2024. The holiday allows novice teachers as well as experienced educators to apply for and/or renew their certificates without incurring fees.  

Experienced teachers may wish to take this time to review their credentials to see if they are eligible for additional certificates. Information may be found by searching for the NJDOE certification homepage. Be certain that you are on an nj.gov page to ensure you are viewing official information. The homepage includes links to the application portal NJEdCert. All certificated staff should create a profile in the portal and check their records for accuracy.  

Attaining a standard certificate 

New teachers begin their career in a provisional status and must meet various requirements to convert their certificate to a standard or permanent one. Novice teachers may find the process to be both challenging and perplexing.  

The first step is taken by the school district. Within 60 days of hire, districts must enroll novice teachers in the provisional teacher process and initiate a provisional certificate. Each teacher should check NJEdCert to be certain that the district has fulfilled this responsibility.  

The provisional license is valid for up to two years with all provisional certificates expiring on July 31 regardless of date of issuance. Most provisional certificates may be renewed once for a maximum of four years, with a few exceptions in specific endorsement areas for a second renewal for a total of six years.  

Teachers who hold a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing (CEAS) with a valid provisional certificate, must be recommended for a standard certificate by their principals after successful completion of mentoring and achieving two effective final summative ratings. Certificate of eligibility (CE) holders must complete those requirements as well as a CE educator preparation program to obtain their standard certificate.  

NJDOE oversight 

By Dec. 1 of each school year, districts must review all certificated staff assignments and submit a matrix report to the NJDOE. During this process, districts must demonstrate that all staff hold the appropriate certificate for their position. Members who are informed by their district of a potential discrepancy should reach out to their local association leadership for assistance.  

A teacher’s journey to professional validation 

A few years back, a passionate novice educator completed a New Jersey educator preparation program, realizing her dream of becoming a teacher in a local district. Mentoring commenced and she began a positive experience in her new role.  

Unbeknownst to her, despite attending an in-state teacher preparation program, her CEAS was never generated in the certification system. During the matrix report process, the district became aware that her certificate was not in the system and advised her to reapply on her own. The teacher proceeded to apply multiple times and incurred hundreds of dollars in fees. The records from her educator preparation program failed to integrate into the certification system, leading to a prolonged and frustrating process lasting over a year.  

The teacher persevered until she finally reached out to her local association leadership. With their intervention, the issue was promptly resolved, and the teacher obtained her standard certificate. Now, having overcome the bureaucratic hurdles, she offers valuable advice to others: proactively engage with your local association leadership at the first sign of certification concerns. The teacher continues to enjoy a successful and rewarding teaching experience and is seeking ways to support colleagues who experience similar struggles.  


In addition to contacting local association leadership, NJDOE certification customer service is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. by calling 609-292-2070. Educators can also create a profile in NJEdCert and use the customer service function in the portal to ask questions about their specific case.  

Camy Kobylinski is an associate director in the NJEA Professional Development and Instructional Issues Division. She can be reached at ckobylinski@njea.org